Avengers in Wonderland: Thalice

A lot of people didn’t get to attend the Concept to Creation panel at Phoenix ComiCon which I co-hosted with Maise Design Seamstress and Lunar Lyn. And that’s okay! PCC was really crazy this year, and I know I have some fellow out of state followers who obviously couldn’t attend. I won’t be going into all the details of the costume making process or the wig styling, but if you would like to know about those things, head over to Gabby’s and Karlyn’s pages for details and questions! Any questions about props, head to Dolfworks for more info!

Thalice

Pre-Production.

*This sentence will be in every post for this series* I will forever and ever and ever say that pre-pro is THE MOST IMPORTANT part of any photoshoot. I’ll make another blog about that at another date because I could go on and on and on. The pre-pro for Sirenita’s image was pretty simple. At first, my idea was to have her “levitate” with her hammer in the air or just by her side and have a bunch of random “wonderland” objects hover around her. I wanted the whole image to be natural light. It was simple. The night before the shoot I text Wade and said “don’t let me forget to also do a “calling Mjolnir” shot too. I am so guilty of forgetting about using cosplayers props to their fullest in shoots so I was like TIME TO REDEEM MUHSELF.

 

The Shoot

I knew Gabby had a small stool so we used that to have her stand on. Gabby brought tea cups, fake painted roses, a couple pocket watches and so on for props. We tied string around all the props and had everyone hold them. Set the camera up on a tripod, shot Thalice and the props, then had everyone move, and shot the background. *After you focus on your subject, if you use auto focus that is, turn your lens to manual mode and DONT touch the focus rings. After you shoot your subject, leave it there and shoot the background so the DOF stays the same.* Got the shots. Packed up, walked to the location to shoot Hawkshire. After Hawkshire, we liked the location around her set so we shot the Mjolnir idea. So for this one, I did zero pre-pro because my dumbass forgot because it was so spur of the moment. It was dusk when we started shooting and my batteries were running low for my lights so it had to be quick. We used 2 Profoto D1 Air 1000’s, one with a beauty dish and one with a shoot through umbrella. The plan was to shoot it when it was getting dark so we could highlight the fact that her hammer lights up. We tied the end of the hammer to a string and Karlyn held the head of the hammer. Gabby was lifting Thalice’s cape. And Wade was being a human boom pole holding the beauty dish. I don’t remember my camera setting right off the bat, but I’m pretty sure it was ISO 100, f/4.0, and shutter being around 1/200. Shot on a Canon 5D Mark III with a 24-105mm f/4.0.

Lighting diagram for Thalice

Lighting diagram for Thalice

 

 

Post Production

THANK GOD we decided to do the hammer shot. Once I started to edit the levitation shot, I quickly realized it wasn’t going to work. The way the props were, they were too small and not exciting at all. It looked ridiculous to be honest haha! So moving on to the actual shot. I had to stitch together 3 images, the original one that lit Thalice nicely, a shot of the hammer that didnt over expose the light and the sides, and another shot of extra cape to fill out that section more. I had just watched a video from Phlearn on motion blurring 2 days before editing this and MAN that effect made all the difference in the world. I added the blurring to her hammer, outfit, and some of the wig.  After all of those, I just sat and looked at the image and it felt really weak. The desert sunset in the back just didn’t seem that exciting. Then I remembered speaking with Tony about compositing images and how for one of his backgrounds, he built it from photoshop brushes. So I was like YES I’ll make a background of creepy trees! Well that failed too lol. I thought the trees just didnt look very realistic and just blah. Soooo to the Google machine!! I found a background I liked, dropped it into the image and masked out the appropriate areas. Tweaked the background by stretching, blurring, changing the color, adding other elements, and so on. After being mostly happy with everything, I started going crazy with the color grading, adding extra light bits, creating more shadows etc. You’ll see all of that in the video below.


 

Thalice’s was definitely the most time consuming I think. I had no idea what I wanted to do with hers in post. The background replacement was unexpected but worked out flawlessly. Easily, the easiest replacement I’ve had to do which is hilarious in my opinion considering I didn’t intend to do that. I think this is my favorite image I have composited to date just due to how easy it went. Most edits like this have a few f bombs or flying objects involved. :)


If you have questions about anything, feel free to ask!

Avengers in Wonderland: Captain Rabbit

HALLO! I've been slacking on posting due to Con crunch! But now I can share all the images I've been working so hard on!!

A lot of people didn’t get to attend the Concept to Creation panel at Phoenix ComiCon which I co-hosted with Maise Design Seamstress and Lunar Lyn. And that’s okay! PCC was really crazy this year, and I know I have some fellow out of state followers who obviously couldn’t attend. I won’t be going into all the details of the costume making process or the wig styling, but if you would like to know about those things, head over to Gabby’s and Karlyn’s pages for details and questions! Any questions about props, head to Dolfworks for more info!

Sketches of AiW costumes by Maise Design Seamstress

Sketches of AiW costumes by Maise Design Seamstress

 

My portion of the panel was to briefly explain the process of capturing the images. I didn’t go into in-depth detail during the panel as we only had an hour. BUT that is what my blog is for!!! So with that being said, I will walk you through my process from start to finish.

 

Captain Rabbit


 

Pre-Production.

I will forever and ever and ever say that pre-pro is THE MOST IMPORTANT part of any photoshoot. I’ll make another blog about that at another date because I could go on and on and on. The pre-pro for Itty Bitty Geek’s image was little to none actually. Which drove me off the wall. Usually I’ll spend a good amount of time referencing lighting examples I like, poses, location ideas, colors, etc… but this shoot was different. With cosplay in particular I always google the character to get a feel for the history and emotion of them. I’ll reference other cosplays and how they have posed, where they shot, the emotion evoked. But try googling white rabbit cosplays, ya dont get much. So that option was out of the window. Captain America cosplays were easy to find but I didn’t really find anything other than the iconic salute pose that I like for the mash up of these two. SO. pre-pro was pretty little. I knew I wanted the light to be a mix of ambient and strobe as well as have a contrasty but soft feel from the strobe.

 

The Shoot

Wade and I had scouted the location about an hour before everyone got there. Nothing really screamed White Rabbit or Captain America. For those not familiar with Phoenix, we don’t really have a lot of green. So making something look like Wonderland isn’t an easy task. Once we met up with the girls and started walking around, I showed Itty the couple of places I was thinking and let her decide. We chose a spot where tree fall covered most of the lake behind her but also allowed a really nice open shade area. Which was key to mixing ambient light with a flash. As far as lighting goes, I set up a Profoto D1 air 1000 with a silver beauty dish powered by a mini vagabond. I went back and forth on using a grid on the beauty dish, I don’t remember if the edited image has a grid, I believe it did. I also had an assistant hold a reflector to camera left behind the model. I always shoot with a Canon 5D Mark III. My lens for this was a Canon 24-105 4.0.

ISO 100. 1/200 at f/4.0.

Lighting diagram

Lighting diagram

 

That’s pretty much it as far as the shoot goes. It was simple. Just like Cap.

 

Post Production

I had no idea what I wanted to do with this to be honest haha. During pre-pro, (pre-pro ties into all aspects of the shoot) I knew I wanted the finished edit to have a bit of a “matte” feel. I also knew I wanted random bursts of color that slightly mimicked random light flares on old film. I’m including a screen recording of the layers being turned on and off in photoshop so you can see how it all comes together. I do use photoshop actions for color grading. “But Deegan you’ve ranted about other photographers using filters, you’re a hypocrite” If you’re saying that, cool, that means you pay attention to what I say. Why do I use actions? Because it’s SO much faster. I know how to split tone, frequency separate, make gradient bursts, add a vignette, etc… I know how do all the things built into the actions I use, I just choose to work smarter not harder. Now, here’s the video:


 

There it is. That’s pretty much it. Itty’s edit was by far the simplest of the AiW. Next up: Thalice! I’ll post that later. Make ya wait. :)

 

If you have questions about anything, feel free to ask!

The Story

Sooooo, I have been so slammed with catching up on work for clients on top of my 9-5 job that I haven't been able to get the second half of my Japan vlog finished. I'm so sorry guys! I will get there I promise! Phoenix ComiCon is in 36 days and I'm trying to finish 2 costumes as well. 

Instead of totally neglecting my blog, I wanted to post some images I shot a few months back and never released. A band approached me and asked me if I could do some artwork for the cover of their new single and these are some out takes. Once I know I have the shot, I like to add and subtract to the set, ya know, play around a bit. Why not, I've already got everything set up! None of these images are close to the one the band used, so if you'd like to see that image head over to Note To Self's page and check it out! 

 

So as you all have probably noticed, there is two of each image. This is my process, this is my hell as a photographer/retoucher. My lightroom catalog is filled with a plethora of virtual copies with different edits on each. I can never just pick one. I can't tell you how many times I ask my roommate, "which is better?" This is just how it is. So with these images, since they were ultimately for fun, which of each do YOU like best? Drop your vote in the comments and whichever has the most picks will be put on my Facebook page  and Instagram.

 

Ta-ta for now!

-Deegz